WMU News

Trustees adopt $272 million estimated budget

April 16, 2004

KALAMAZOO--Acting at its April 16 meeting, the Western Michigan University Board of Trustees adopted a $272.5 million general fund operating budget for the 2004-05 year that addresses a serious budget shortfall created by state funding cuts and cost increases.

The new budget calls for campuswide budget reductions of $11.8 million. The reductions will result in the elimination of 122 full-time positions at the University and new cuts to an already reduced operating budget. Because of unfilled vacancies, and transfer within University units for some employees, the actual number of layoffs is currently expected to be 48 employees. The number of employees affected will fluctuate in the coming weeks, as University departments make final budget adjustments to accommodate the budget adopted by trustees.

"Like any budget, this represents our best judgment given the current situation," said WMU President Judith I. Bailey in making her recommendation. "Our focus has been on building a balanced operating budget that protects our academic mission and delivers essential services to our students. Our staff and the impact these reductions will have on them have been foremost in our minds every step of the way. We've worked hard to preserve as many jobs as possible."

Bailey pointed out that the cutbacks would be an economic blow to the community as well, because there will be 122 fewer jobs that are part of the local employment base. During WMU's 2003 budget cuts, the community lost the equivalent of 180 full-time University jobs.

The budget reduction figure of $11.8 million, was previously estimated at $13.7 million but was decreased as a result of the administration's acceptance of budget adjustments proposed late last month by the Academic Affairs Budget Advisory Committee, a campuswide group charged with finding ways to meet the budget reduction goals within the University's academic affairs units.

While classroom instruction was protected from cuts, four academic programs will be reorganized, and four graduate programs will be suspended, beginning in 2004-05. In addition, the Center for Science Education and the Lee Honors College Student Volunteer Service Program will be eliminated.

WMU's appropriation from the state for 2004-05 is expected to be $110.8 million, nearly $2.3 million less than the state appropriation the University had at the beginning of the 2003-04 fiscal year. The total decrease in annual state appropriations over the past two years amounts to nearly $15 million. A 2.4 percent undergraduate resident tuition increase passed by the board in February as well as graduate and nonresident rates set at the April 16 meeting will bring in $2.1 million, only partially offsetting this year's decrease in state funding.

Projected expense increases for 2004-05 total $12.4 million and include increases in compensation, utilities, student financial aid funds, graduate student assistance, library acquisitions, academic programming and insurance costs.

Media contact: Matt Kurz, 269 387-8400, matt.kurz@wmich.edu

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